Page images

on what plan he should pursue under the perplexing circumstances in which he found himself.

After mature deliberation he resolved to write to Teresa, and detail, as delicately as he could, the events of which he had so unexpectedly gained a knowledge.

Accordingly be addressed her in the following


“ MY DEAR LADY St. John, “I scarcely know how to address you on the subject which prompts this letter, and before I commence upon it, allow me to speak a little of my own feelings ;-it may be wrong, but it is for the first time, and I cannot forbear indulging my inclination.

“You may perhaps remember encountering my gaze of admiration once in the street in London, when, like a ministering angel, you stood relieving those poor musicians, and questioning them with gentle pity. You caught my eyes fixed on you, and in confusion ran into the house. I could not forget the impression I had received at that moment, and in you I saw the realization of my dreams of grace and beauty. I again saw you at the same door assisting your father into a carriage, and the tender solicitude and deep affection depicted in your looks, as they rested on the old man's face, proved to me that you were as feeling as you were beautiful.

“ For some time after the carriage drove from the house I stood gazing at it, and was strongly tempted to make inquiries respecting you of the people who owned the house ; but I repelled my curiosity, and strove to forget that I had seen you, for I had no right to feel interested for you, -since I was even then a married man ;-yes, Teresa, (pardon my thus naming you, but I can no longer control my feelings) I was bound irrevocably, and yet most unhappily, at the time when you first appeared to me, in all

your beauty and goodness.

“ I had been dazzléd and bewildered by the meretricious charms of one almost as lovely as yourself —perhaps even more strikingly so, at least to common observers, but when I saw you,

I felt her measureless inferiority. I was led to believe that the pleasing excitement of flattered vanity which I experienced in her society, and which arose from her evident partiality towards me, was love, and under this delusion I made her my wife.

To you, Teresa, who have suffered in a like manner, I need not describe the bitterness of my disappointment when I discovered that my dreams of domestic happiness, for which I was peculiarly formed, were fallacious, when I saw the airy fabric of my hopes gradually melting away, and a stern, cold reality of sorrow replacing it! I buried my blighted feelings in my own bosom — who could I reproach? who was to blame but myself? - Certainly not my wife—I had chosen her with my eyes open, and my wilful blindness, not her deficiency, was the cause of my grievous disappointment.

“A perfect indifference towards everything but science crept over my heart, and I devoted myself to hard study, and sought to destroy

imagination by seeking realities. For a time I was almost happy, and in my new pursuits, the wonderful works of Providence first appeared before me in all their grandeur and beauty. Insensibly my thoughts rose from the creation to the Creator, and I finally fixed my heart on that basis which is firmer than the adamantine rock.

My wife's health declined and I took her abroad. One day at Florence I had accompanied her to the Gallery, and leaving her with a party whose gaiety was more congenial to her taste than my grave conversation, I strolled into the room containing that exquisite group of the Niobe and her children; but I saw not the statues, an object far more beautiful than any work of man, & masterpiece from the Divine hand arrested my attention. You, Teresa, were standing before the group, absorbed in rapt contemplation, and for some time you saw nothing but the work of immortal fame before you. The enthusiasm of kindred genius shone

in your eyes, and your attitude of grace and earnestness showed the superiority of the masterhand which had created you.

“You saw me at last, and, as you may remember we were introduced to each other; and your sweet, melodious voice corresponded with your graceful form and features.

“I next met you at a dinner-party, and in the evening you sang. Oh! Teresa, never shall I forget the effect of your singing on my heart The song you selected was the same which the unhappy Jessy chose the night before her death ; and as I listened to her and thought of you, that expression doubtless shone in my eyes which so fatally misled her, and, I perceived, surprised even you. I was always a passionate admirer of singing, especially the low tones of a female voice,--and then such tones as you produced, so rich, so clear, so touching! I never beard any woman sing to equal you— I have doubtless. heard more powerful voices and more brilliant execution, but never such thrilling expression, such soothing harmony. Then followed, in quick

« PreviousContinue »